Sends some replies to CD's queries and data on pigeon flights between Bordeaux and Verviers.
Muswell Hill | N
Saturday May 4.
My dear Sir.
I trust you will excuse my long delay in replying to your last but I have been very busy and your queries could not all be answered by myself.— I enclose some replies.— I am not quite sure as to what you call the first pruning will you let me know as it is desirable that I should be quite certain of your meaning.—
I was surprized at the Number of tail feathers in the Malays.
I will send the answers to your other querys as I can observe them as I do not like sending you my impressions merely.
I am collecting facts respecting the Antwerps or flying birds of Belgium—. I have two volumes of a periodical devoted to the Pursuit—and have some of the very best birds. I have requested T T Parker Esq who has a number of these birds to send you an egg just chipped would you be good enough to let me know what you think of the cerebral development in that stage.— I thought you would like to have the bird in that state as it would complete your series.— These birds fly distances we have no idea of in this country their speed for short distances is a league a minute!!! The following is the account of a match from Bordeaux to Verviers.—
Birds liberated at Bordeaux Saturday July 22. at 4
Temperature high. Wind NW
Distant direct 186 leagues.
I am glad to see you using the Field— With regard to your last Query. I have seen [moping] semi idiotic polish but as a general rule those I kept had no particular alteration of mental characters some are as savage as a game cock.— one I had would fight my hand just as a savage game cock will, if teased—
Believe me | Very truly Yours | W B Tegetmeier
C Darwin Esq.
I enclose two neck feathers from Duckwing and Black red Game
- f1 3139.f1The year is suggested by the discussion of domesticated fowls. CD was writing his chapter on fowls for Variation; he finished it on 16 May 1861 (see `Journal'; Appendix II).
- f2 3139.f2See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 April  and the enclosure.
- f3 3139.f3Tegetmeier's enclosure has not been found.
- f4 3139.f4The number of tail feathers in various varieties of fowl is discussed in Variation 1: 258--9.
- f5 3139.f5Neither Parker nor the fancier's periodical has been identified.
- f6 3139.f6CD had formed a collection of newly hatched pigeons, preserved in alcohol, as a means of determining when the strongly marked characters of the adults first became manifest. See Correspondence vol. 6, letters to W. D. Fox, 15 March , and to W. B. Tegetmeier, 24 June , and letter from Charles Lyell, 1--2 May 1856, n. 10. See also Origin, pp. 445--6, and Variation 1: 178, 248--50.
- f7 3139.f7Bernard Philip Brent was a frequent contributor to both the Cottage Gardener and the Field on various subjects pertaining to domesticated birds and animals.
- f8 3139.f8Tegetmeier's paper on Antwerp carrier pigeons did not appear in the Natural History Review, of which Thomas Henry Huxley was chief editor.
- f9 3139.f9See letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 2 April  and 14 April . CD had recently sent several letters to the Field, which were printed in `The Naturalist' section in the column `Notes and questions on natural history'. See letters to the Field, [before 27 April 1861] and [before 4 May 1861].
- f10 3139.f10See letter to the Field, [before 4 May 1861].
- f11 3139.f11CD cited Tegetmeier's information in Variation in the discussion of the effect of the remarkable bony protuberance of Polish fowls on their intelligence (see Variation 1: 257 and n. 58).
- f12 3139.f12The number of CD's portfolio of notes on the means of dispersal of plants and animals.